Building the Great Wall of China (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Great Wall, a huge fortification constructed along the southern edge of the Mongolian plain, was designed to protect China from the northern barbarians.
Summary of Event
Although reliable records of early Chinese history are scarce, China had developed an agricultural society by 4000 b.c.e. Its northern neighbors, the Mongols, were nomads renowned for their fierceness. As small agricultural enclaves developed in China, it became necessary to defend them from their marauding neighbors to the north. The people living in these enclaves built substantial walls, within which were living accommodations for their residents and fields for cultivation.
The walls built to protect the agricultural villages ranged in height from 15 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters) and had bases that ranged from 15 to 30 feet (5 to 9 meters). The top, which was a roadway, was wide enough to hold ten or twelve people abreast, usually about 12 feet (4 meters) in width.
The walls had narrow openings through which arrows could be shot. Most of them had elevated watchtowers at frequent intervals and had narrow entrances, seldom more than two in number, protected by heavy gates that were closed at night. Most of the walls were made of earth pounded into solid masses. These earthen outcroppings were framed in wooden planks or bamboo and faced with granite, bricks, or timber, depending on what was readily available....
(The entire section is 1306 words.)
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